Perhaps as much as any city in the United States, Pittsburgh has leapfrogged into the 21st century, remaking itself from a dying, dirty steel town to a lively, clean beacon of the new economy, awash in cutting-edge culture, dining and entertainment. But enough vestiges of the old days remain, including iconic bridges and signature buildings, to make Pittsburgh feel pleasantly gritty.
The only downside for older singles is that the city proper is getting younger — the percentage of the population age 65 and older dropped to 13.8 percent in the 2010 census. But at 16.8 percent, Allegheny County remains among the top in the country for percentage of seniors over age 65.
In the new 'Burgh, you can enjoy a fine meal of locally sourced ingredients at Douglass Dick's Bona Terra restaurant, drink award-winning craft beer at the Church Brew Works, and take in the ballet at the Benedum Center or an art-house movie at the Harris Theater. Or you could have a Primanti Brothers sandwich topped with fries before hitting Jack's Bar on the Southside for $1.25 beer specials — and possible off-the-ice sightings of Penguins hockey players.
Pittsburgh's economy has successfully diversified to include biotechnology, health care and software. The new Pittsburgh is smarter and cleaner. Indeed, you can once again catch fish in the Monongahela River.
Unemployment is much lower than the national average; likewise, the foreclosure rate is among the lowest in the country. Pennsylvania is also a prime place to live on a pension: All money withdrawn from pensions is exempt from state taxes.
Several large research universities have helped drive Pittsburgh forward. Chief among these are Carnegie Mellon University (enrollment 12,000) and Duquesne University ( 10,300), which — along with the University of Pittsburgh's main campus ( 28,766 ) — have spun off businesses from their research contracts.
Pittsburgh also claims a rich tradition of philanthropy: Andrew Carnegie lived (and gave) here, and today the Heinz family maintains a $1.7 billion foundation focused exclusively on southwest Pennsylvania. Allegheny County's libraries function as crucial community centers. Those libraries, represented by the Allegheny County Library Association, recently joined with AARP and the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield PALS (People Able to Lend Support) program to organize walking groups for adults age 50-plus.
The region has above-average outdoor recreation — mountains, rivers and trails abound — and below-average rates of cancer, heart disease and other chronic health problems. Despite all the change, residents still abide by a sense of community drawn from their immigrant roots, and that makes for an inviting place to be regardless of your relationship status.